Sunday, August 12, 2012

Chile Relleno (Cheese Stuffed Pepper)

 If your partner is Mexican, then you already know this fact: Mexicans have a super power that tells them exactly where the Mexican restaurants are in any town or city.
 My husband's psychic powers are even more advanced: He predicts the the quality of those places, staff credentials, and menu.
 We were on Highway 1 (north from LA) enjoying the glorious pacific coastline. We had Chile Relleno (first time I tried it) in Santa Barbara.

 I wasn't particularly thrilled about the idea of cheese stuffed pepper. I am Lebanese and we just don't stuff peppers. We only slice them. All of my principles changed when I discovered the superb Chile Pablano.

Top: Stuffed Pablano peppers coated in egg batter (fried)
Recipe: Chile Relleno (Cheese Stuffed Pepper)
Salsipuedes street, Santa Barbara, California
  • 6 Chile Pablano peppers
  • Oaxaca cheese (or Chihuahua cheese or Queso Fresco)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 eggs 
  • 1 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt (seasoning for the eggs)
  • vegetable oil (to fry the chiles)
  • 7 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 banana pepper
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 medium onion, sliced in big pieces 
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt 
1) Broil the banana pepper, until some of its skin is brown. Set aside.
2) Prepare the sauce: Blend the tomatoes, parsley, 1 garlic clove, and the sliced onion in the food processor, until they become smooth. 
3) In a large pan, heat 1tbsp olive oil, add the tomato mix, tomato sauce, chicken broth, and sea salt to taste. Add the banana peppers. Simmer for 1.5 hours.
4) Now to remove the skin of the Pablano peppers: Smear the chiles on all sides for about 1 minute, then broil on each side for 4 minutes (until the skin is visibly bubbly. Do not over cook). Remove from the oven, and place the chiles in a plastic bag for about 10 minutes. The skin can now be easily removed.
Banana peppers and slightly smeared Pablano peppers right
before they go into the oven for broiling. 
5) Look for the weakest part of the skinned Chile, and make a long slit there using a knife. Carefully remove the bulky white part and the seeds. Be careful not to rip the veins off the Chile, since that would cause holes in it.
6) Stuff the chile with cheese.
7) Using a fork, beat the eggs with the oregano, black pepper, and salt. 
8) Heat the vegetable oil (only 1 inch) in a large frying pan.
9) Dip the stuffed Chile in the flour and then in the egg batter. Coat the whole chile, except the tail.
10) Fry for about 2 minutes on each side, or until the egg batter is golden brown (see picture).
11) Drop in the tomato sauce. Do not mix.

Serve with rice, refried beans, and guacamole. 

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